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The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

The World According to Humphrey

post written by Emma Filbrun
The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

Title: The World According to Humphrey
Author: Betty G. Birney
Series: According to Humphrey
Major Themes: Hamsters, Pets, Animal Stories
Synopsis: As he watches the children and teacher in his classroom, and goes home with them, Humphrey learns a lot about humans, and even teaches them some things!

Some books would never get a second glance from me if they weren’t scheduled in with the curriculum I’m using with my 6-year-old—The World According to Humphrey is one of those. It is not the type of book that appeals to me, but she and her 9-year-old brother loved it! (His long-term wish for a pet hamster has been rekindled now.)

Humphrey began life in a pet shop, but a teacher bought him and took him to her classroom. What a wonderful life he had there, watching the children and enjoying them, and going home with her every weekend. And then, she left. Poor Humphrey was at the mercy of Mrs. Brisbane, who DID NOT want a hamster in her class! What would happen to him now? Would he have to starve over the weekends?

Someone came up with the perfect solution: A different student would take Humphrey home every weekend! He enjoyed getting to know various families, and helped them out with some of their problems. Then came Thanksgiving weekend, and no one could take him—he had to go home with the dreaded Mrs. Brisbane. What a surprise was in store for both of them! Was it true, after all, that “You can learn a lot about yourself by getting to know another species”?

Though Humphrey was reading and writing and doing a few other things that hamsters don’t actually do, we learned a lot about hamsters from the story. We also learned about people and why some people act the way they do. We really liked the story about the family who were so noisy—and what Humphrey taught them!

WARNING: I saw the word gosh once, but couldn’t find it again later to cite the chapter.

Age levels:

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle | Hardcover | Audio CD (unabridged)
AbeBooks: View Choices on
Book Depository: Paperback | Hardcover

Links to buy this book:

Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12

Keywords: Hamsters, Pets, Family Read-Alouds, Animal Stories, Books for Boys, Books for Girls

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